Is Beijing really sinking?

Updated: 2016-07-01 09:32

(People's Daily Online)

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Is Beijing really sinking?

The South-to-North Water Transfer Project. [File photo]

Recently, some foreign media reported that excessive pumping of groundwater is causing the geology under Beijing to collapse, which has attracted wide attention. The Water Supplies Bureau of Beijing responded that the decline of groundwater levels has been slowed down currently and it is expected that starting from 2025, the underground water level of Beijing will gradually recover.

According to a report on The Guardian on June 23, satellite imagery reveals parts of Beijing – particularly its central business district – are subsiding each year by as much as 11 centimeters, or more than four inches.

The Water Supplies Bureau of Beijing responded on June 29 that currently, Beijing is still overdrafting its underground water. However, the range of overdraft is reduced gradually.

The statistics of Beijing's groundwater level since 2000 show that since 2000 to 2011, the groundwater depth of Beijing lowered about 9 meters. However, from 2011 to 2015, it only lowered less than 1 meter.

Especially after 2014, when the South-to-North Water Diversion Project began to bring south water to Beijing, the down trend of Beijing's groundwater level has slowed down obviously, with an annual decline of about 0.1 meter.

According to the introduction of the Water Supplies Bureau of Beijing, by the end of 2020, Beijing will limit the amount of groundwater mining to 2.037 billion cubic meters at its plain areas and reach the balance of groundwater discharge and replenishment. In the future, the groundwater overdraft will be further controlled. Since 2025, the problem will be alleviated and the groundwater level will be recovered gradually.